Richard Carlson: Home with the Lord

Ellen and Dick Carlson

After years of fruitful ministry and a legacy of faithful service, Pastor Dick Carlson (or Pastor Dad, as he was known to Moreno Christian Assembly in Moreno Valley, California) went to be with the Lord Sunday, December 27, at the age of 87.

Dick was born at Sheriff Lake (near McGregor), Minnesota. When he was only three, his family moved to Duluth and started attending the Duluth Gospel Tabernacle—where his future wife, Ellen, was already attending. Before Dick turned 19, he and Ellen were married by Pastor E.C. Erickson, who later became his mentor for ministry.

After serving in the Air Force and as a member of the Air Force band, Dick and Ellen returned to Duluth where they became involved in lay ministries in their home church, and Dick earned a living selling life insurance. They moved briefly to California, spent a year in Seattle at Bible college, and then served briefly as an assistant pastor in California. In 1969 Dick answered a call to serve as assistant pastor at Duluth Gospel Tabernacle, but he soon returned to California at the invitation of Pastor Paul Zettersten to be the pastor of a start-up church in Westminister.

Many unchurched people were saved under Dick’s ministry at Westminster Christian Assembly. Several building programs took place as the church grew. Also growing from the church were missionary outreaches in Honduras and Nicaragua. After a dozen years in Westminster, however, Dick moved to Palm Desert to start Valley Christian Assembly. His faith-filled leadership there led to a growing, vibrant church, and property was soon purchased to build a beautiful church complex.

It wasn’t long, though, before the new church released Dick to begin yet another church, Moreno Christian Assembly. The new congregation purchased a house and converted it into a church with subsequent additions increasing the meeting space. During this season Dick helped plant several other churches—one in Florida, another in Michigan, and he was consulted on other church plants. In 1994, Dick gave oversight to his youth pastor (and son), David Carlson, in planting Hemet Christian Assembly. During this period, Dick and Ellen sent their daughter, Shari, to Indonesia to serve as a missionary for 10 years. Back in Moreno Valley, meanwhile, the growing church began construction on even more sanctuary space, dedicating the new sanctuary and office complex in June, 2000. A year later, Dick retired as senior pastor and was succeeded by his son, David.

Over the years Dick worked with and mentored a number of pastoral assistants, impacting each by his integrity, faith, and pastoral care. His vision of training church leaders influenced him to lead the charge in establishing Southwest Bible College in 2000, where he has served as college president for the past 20 years. Under his leadership the college purchased property where classes are now being held.

FCA Lead Elder, John Sprecher, observes that Dick Carlson was a pioneer who was always looking for the next opportunity. “The Fellowship of Christian Assemblies in Southern California exists today because of his vision and passion,” says Sprecher. He noted that Dick had texted him a number of times during his last days. “His final text to me was sent less than 24 hours before he went to be with the Lord. It summarized his feelings and commitment to our Fellowship: ‘The FCA has always been special to me. There are larger groups, but there are none finer, in my view. I love you all.’”

Dick will be lovingly missed by his wife of 67 years, Ellen. He leaves a wonderful family legacy of 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren—all serving the Lord with nine of these families involved in full-time ministries.

A memorial service for Pastor Richard Carlson will be held the afternoon of Sunday, December 27, 2021. Click HERE for more details on how you can watch online. Friends of Dick Carlson may share their memories Ellen on the same webpage: http://mcathechurch.com/pastor-dad-memorial

The Legacy and Impact of Harmon Johnson

Long-time FCA minister, Harmon Alden Johnson, 87, of Brooklyn, NY, passed away on September 28, 2020, in Decatur, GA, due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was born May 22, 1933, in McGregor, Minnesota, to Alma and Arthur Johnson, a Minnesota pastor who later served serve Salem Gospel Tabernacle, an early FCA church in Brooklyn, New York.

Harmon attended North Central University (then North Central Bible College) in Minneapolis and was ordained to the ministry by Lake View Gospel Church in Chicago, Illinois in 1955. He served pastorates in Delavan, Wisconsin, and Montpelier, Vermont. At an interchurch rally in Vermont, he met Carol. They married on October 17, 1959.

Within two years, God opened the door for them to become missionaries to Brazil, where they lived on and off for 15 years. During those years, while earning an MA in Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, Harmon served with Paul Zettersten as youth pastor at Immanuel Christian Assembly in Los Angeles and co-authored the book, Latin American Church Growth. An active member of the FCA, Harmon assisted Zettersten with editing Conviction magazine (later Fellowship Today) and served several other Fellowship churches.

After returning full-time from Brazil, Harmon pursued various ministries—as Dean at Salem Bible College in Brooklyn, New York; pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in Bergen County, New Jersey; editor for Edification Ministries, president of NUESTRA in Washington D.C.; Provost of the American University of the Caribbean in Haiti; and Vice President of Beulah Heights Bible College in Atlanta, Georgia. He was also member of the American Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, the American Society of Missiology, the American Society for Church History, and the Society for Pentecostal Studies.

Harmon believed training leaders occurs through discipleship, and he mentored hundreds of church and lay leaders over several decades and continents. He also had a passion for music, however, and conducted orchestras, choirs, and praise and worship teams. He is survived by his wife, Carol Johnson, two brothers, a sister, four children, ten grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.

The family hopes to hold a memorial service for Harmon in May of 2021, circumstances permitting.

Pastor Carl Johnson with the Lord

Pastor Carl Johnson

Long-time FCA friend and pastor Carl Johnson went to be with the Lord this past Monday, September 21, 2020. He was 69, born on November 2, 1950.

Carl attended Oral Roberts University where he met Diana Stansell from California. They married in 1972. Carl earned a Masters of Divinity degree at Gordon-Conwell in 1974 and a Doctor of Divinity from Kings College in 2008.

Carl moved with his family to New City, New York, in December 1977 to pastor New City Gospel Fellowship (now called Gracepoint Gospel Fellowship). He remained pastor there for over 40 years and was well loved by his congregation.

Carl enjoyed teaching, preaching, mission work, skiing with kids and grandkids, and attending Giants and Yankee games. His time with family and grandkids brought him great joy even as he fought cancer. He will be greatly missed by his family and the church he served so well.

Family will receive friends on Friday evening from 7 – 8:30 pm and Saturday from 9 – 10:30 am at Gracepoint, 384 New Hempstead Rd in New City. Carl’s family will receive friends Friday evening as well as Saturday morning, September 26, at Gracepoint (384 Hempstead Road, New City) from 9 a.m. until the 10:30 service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Gracepoint with his name. All funds received will be sent to IllumiNations, an organization working to translate the Bible into every language. Carl’s desire was always to spread the message that guided his life and gave him hope.

The service will be livestreamed (10:30 a.m. eastern time) on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/gracepointgf

Carl’s full obituary may be found at: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/new-city-ny/carl-johnson-9374430

Billie Call: With the Lord

VETERAN MISSIONARY WITH THE LORD

Billie Call, widow of George Call, died on August 20th, 2020 at the age of 92. At the time of her home-going she resided in a Texas nursing home under hospice care. Her daughter, Terry, shared that for several years Billie had been eagerly anticipating going to be with the Lord.

George and Billie Call were married in 1946 after his return from service in the Navy. They came to the Lord early in their marriage and became faithful servants of Jesus. They pastored at Georgetown Gospel Chapel while attending Seattle Bible School before graduating from there in 1962. In 1963 they became missionaries at the Sinoe Leprosy Mission in Liberia.

When George died in 1982 in an airplane accident, Billie chose to stay on in Liberia to continue the work they had been doing as church planters and Bible teachers. She remained there off and on through two coups until 1992, when she moved back to her hometown of Joplin, Missouri, and continued serving and volunteering at her local church.

Throughout their lives George and Billie Call were dedicated, faithful servants of Jesus Christ. They were greatly appreciated for their long service of ministry in Liberia.

Billie is survived by her son George Jr, daughter-in-law Donna, grandchildren Lana and George III; her daughter Terry Lynn, son-in-law Andrew Herrity, granddaughters Tabitha (husband Tim) and Elizabeth (husband Mitch), and two great grandchildren Abigail and Aidan.

FCA Church Launches Online Bible College

Hope Hill Church in Manhattan, New York, is launching a one-year, two-semester online Bible College (unaccredited) this fall. Hope Hill Bible College will offer a Certificate in Biblical Studies in the first semester, followed by an accompanying Certificate in Leadership Studies in the 2021 spring semester.

The program is designed to assist believers to expand their competencies for a greater life of spiritual legacy and service, whether that be through volunteer ministry or as paid staff at a church, non-profit organization, or on the mission field.

“Our program is intended for serious-minded students of God’s Word,” says Beau Lee, pastor of Hope Hill. “It’s for those who desire to be used by God in serving others for Jesus.” He claims that while the courses will be fun, including community building activities and material, the chief aim of the program is to provide in-depth training for people dedicated to ministry.

As a result, he says the new school is “locked on” to the mission, seeking the most focused applicants. “Our certificate training is vital for us to prepare us as a church to disciple the people God draws into our churches throughout the year,” says Lee, noting that people regularly visit churches with big questions about God. “They come with hurt and pain and in need of the healing only Jesus can offer.”

Still others, Lee observes, need someone to come alongside them to disciple them and lead them through personal issues in order to live full lives and, in turn, share God’s love and truth with others. “Every believer in Jesus needs to be activated to fulfill the Great Commission,” Lee says. “Hope Hill Bible College is here to help equip and activate believers in Jesus all across the United States towards this goal.”

The school’s initial offering will include lectures, reading materials, and media resources from some of the greatest leadership and ministry resources available today. The instruction and course materials will be at a level that should effectively challenge students of all academic backgrounds.

Classes begin on Thursday, September 10th (7:00-9:00 p.m. EST) and continue each Thursday through both the Fall and Spring semesters. The cost ($380 per semester) covers facility, instruction, and course materials with subsidized tuition available for regular Hope Hill attendees.

Due to COVID-19, the application deadline has been extended up to the week before class begins (September 3, 2020). Applicants are encouraged to complete their application as early as possible, however, so they will have opportunity to purchase course books.

Applications (click here) should be submitted to the school office for review. Those accepted will be notified by email and provided a link for Canvas online education platform (along with a student login) to find course information, assignments, and class videos links.

Beau Lee is a professional guitarist, entrepreneur, business consultant, author of Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Salvation, and the Lead Pastor of Hope Hill in Manhattan, New York. After studying theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), he went on to pursue a Master of Science in Management, Strategy & Leadership at Michigan State University (Broad School of Business). Pastor Beau is presently working on a Doctor of Ministry program in Growing & Multiplying Churches from Biola University (Talbot School of Theology), and is writing a commentary on the book of Romans.